The New York Yankees spent most of the past week playing three time zones away, forcing fans to stay up late to see if they could continue their hot streak.
Gerrit Cole ensured the finale of the trip was an enjoyable one and the Yankees hope to capitalize on a stretch that features little travel,and it starts Friday night when they host the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game series.
The Yankees (77-56) went 5-4 on a nine-game trek against the Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. They ended the trip when Cole fanned 15 in seven innings and Aaron Judge hit his 30th homer in a 4-1 win over the Angels on Wednesday to end a four-game skid on the heels of a 13-game winning streak.
“That’s what we needed out of our ace today, especially after the past couple of games, falling short,” Judge said. “He’s our guy. That’s who we want on the mound in any situation we need to come out with a win, and he showed it tonight.”
The Yankees now return to play their next 11 games and 17 of their next 20 within the confines of New York with the only games outside of the area being a three-game series in Baltimore from Sept. 14-16.
“As well as we’ve played here these last few weeks, it has been a tough stretch,” New York outfielder Brett Gardner said. “It’ll be nice to go back home and play in front of our home fans. We’ll be looking forward to that.”
New York is 13-4 in its past 17 games and 21-7 since its 7-1 home loss to Baltimore on Aug. 2 in a game where a cat ran on the field during the eighth inning. Despite their run, the Yankees have lost some ground in the AL East while taking control of the first wild-card spot.
The Yankees will likely get shortstop Gleyber Torres back from the injured list after he missed three weeks with a thumb injury. Torres was hitting .393 (11-for-28) in eight games before getting hurt and will join a lineup that has seen Judge hit .338 since the All-Star break and Giancarlo Stanton hit .327 in his past 28 games.
The Orioles (41-91) are 3-24 in their past 27 games since hitting four homers in their win over the Yankees. They were outscored 23-4 in the final two games of last month’s visit to New York and that started a 19-game losing streak.
Baltimore is 3-5 since ending the skid and dropped two of three in Toronto. The Orioles ended the series with a 5-4 loss on Wednesday when Trey Mancini hit a game-tying RBI double.
“I’m happy with how we came back and scored,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde. “Losing is never easy and we came up a run short.”
New York’s Nestor Cortes Jr. (2-2, 2.77 ERA) will make his ninth start after allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings in Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Oakland. The crafty left-hander is 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two appearances against the Orioles, who had him on their 2018 Opening Day roster.
John Means (5-6, 3.46), who is 0-3 with a 5.61 ERA in his past five starts, goes for Baltimore. The lefty last pitched on Saturday in a 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay when he allowed two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision.
Means is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA in eight career games (five starts) against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media